Magical Spots for Chicagoland Families

Discover Chicago’s magical spots.

If your kids are fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, you’ve likely heard that Harry’s birthday on July 31 is a big deal in the wizarding world. We’ve compiled tons of positively magical family activities across Chicago that will bring joy to the witches and wizards in your house as you celebrate all summer long.

Harry Potter: Magic at Play

Begin your journey at Harry Potter: Magic at Play, running through Labor Day at Water Tower Place. The immersive experience is packed with photo opportunities that let your whole family recreate the journey to Hogwarts, from waiting for the train on Platform 9 ¾ to practicing magical spells to playing a game of Quidditch.

Quadball

Speaking of Quidditch, have you heard of Quadball? Inspired by the game played on broomsticks in the series, Quadball is sweeping the nation. The Chicago Prowl is our hometown Major League Quadball team, and you can catch a live home game at Montrose Turf Fields on July 8 as they take on the Minneapolis Monarchs. Tickets start at just $5.

See a magical (and hilarious!) show

If theater is more your style, bring the whole family to “Puffs, or, Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” a hilarious parody told through the eyes of what some say is the least popular house in a certain school of magic. The play runs through July 23 at Otherworld Theatre. General admission tickets are $30 with a pay-what-you-can option available.

Spot owls at Lincoln Park Zoo

Owls deliver the mail in the wizarding world, but you’ll deliver nothing but joy when you bring your kids to Lincoln Park Zoo to get up close and personal with a snowy owl in the zoo’s Regenstein Birds of Prey building or take a field trip to the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook to meet their resident owl.

Tour a magical campus

While waiting for your letters to wizarding school, a tour of the beautiful Gothic campus of the University of Chicago is the closest thing to Hogwarts this side of the pond. Your kids will be thrilled to learn that students are sorted into houses within the dorms there, and the university’s Cathey Dining Commons is reminiscent of the hall where Harry chowed down with his friends.

Dine like Harry and his friends

Magical adventures always work up an appetite, and there are wonderful spots in Chicago to grab a proper wizard meal or fancy drink. Swing by Pleasant House Pub, located at 2119 S. Halsted St., to nosh on bangers and mash. Be sure to order sticky toffee pudding for dessert. If you plan ahead, you can score a reservation at The Cauldron Chicago, located at 1612 W. Division St., to sip Magic Wand-Poured Mocktails inside an old bank vault, or spend a few extra gold coins to reserve your spot in a potion-making class there. The Cauldron is open to kids 5 and up during limited time slots before 5 p.m., so be sure to inquire ahead.

With all there is to do in Chicago, your family is sure to have a magical time this summer.


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